Why is water beneficial for weight loss?

F. Michael Gloth, III
Geriatric Medicine
Vitamins, minerals, and water are needed to help break down fat. If you are trying to lose weight, drinking a full glass of water before each meal will:
  • Relieve the feeling of being hungry, because sometimes the mind doesn't make a clear distinction between thirst and hunger.
  • Provide a structural expansion of the stomach that also helps reduce the feeling of hunger.
An adequate intake of vitamins and minerals increases the breakdown of fat and aids in the formation of muscle. Making sure your diet contains adequate amounts of nutrients can lead to improved endurance and increased muscle mass. This is equivalent to increasing your exercise capacity, which can lead to improvements in overall function and even survival.
Fit at Fifty and Beyond: A Balanced Exercise and Nutrition Program (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

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Fit at Fifty and Beyond: A Balanced Exercise and Nutrition Program (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

As people reach their fifties, the body’s metabolism slows. Without a change in eating or exercise habits, it’s common to put on weight and become less able to perform routine physical...
Paula Greer
Midwifery Nursing

Water is a key ingredient for weight loss. It helps our metabolism. Drinking cold water actually speeds up metabolism and being well hydrated makes us feel better and more likely to enjoy exercise. Being hydrated also helps the liver to burn fat and being dehydrated can affect how the liver can do its job. Most importantly most of us never know whether we are hungry or thirsty. Most of us who drink water before eating find we lose more and do better without weight loss efforts than our counterparts who don’t drink enough water. Make sure you are getting at least 8-10 glasses of water every day.

Sari Greaves
Nutrition & Dietetics
Water helps keep our temperature normal, lubricates and cushions your joints, protects your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, and gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements. Those are the basic roles of water in the body, but it also has an important role in weight loss:

  • Initial weight loss is largely due to loss of water, and you need to drink an adequate amount of water in order to avoid dehydration.
  • The process of burning calories requires an adequate supply of water in order to function efficiently; dehydration slows down the fat-burning process.
  • Burning calories creates toxins (think of the exhaust coming out of your car), and water plays a vital role in flushing them out of your body.
  • Dehydration causes a reduction in blood volume; a reduction in blood volume causes a reduction in the supply of oxygen to your muscles; and a reduction in the supply of oxygen to your muscles can make you feel tired.
  • Water helps maintain muscle tone by assisting muscles in their ability to contract, and it lubricates your joints. Proper hydration can help reduce muscle and joint soreness when exercising.
  • A healthy (weight loss) diet includes a good amount of fiber. But while fiber is normally helpful to your digestive system, without adequate fluids it can cause constipation instead of helping to eliminate it.
  • Drinking water with a meal may make you feel full sooner and therefore satisfied eating less. Note, however, that drinking water alone may not have this effect. In order to feel satiated (not hungry), our bodies need bulk, calories and nutrients.

Drinking water to lose weight is supported by research. A study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Research shows that, in fact, people who drink an average of 6½ cups (52 ounces) of water each day consume 200 fewer calories a day. The study also revealed that these people drank less sugary drinks and were less likely to reach for junk food for snacking.

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Drinking plenty of water is beneficial for weight loss for a couple of reasons. Staying hydrated can work as an appetite suppressant. It is difficult for the body to tell the difference between whether it is hungry or thirsty. In several studies performed by Dr. Brenda Davy from Virginia Tech, people who drink two glasses of water 30 minutes before a meal actually consumed an average of 75 fewer calories per meal and lost weight significantly more quickly than those who did not drink water before a meal. Water also helps your body's organs perform some of their required functions. If there is not enough water, the kidneys will actually delegate some of their filtering of toxins function to the liver. The liver is designed to help metabolize fat, if it now has extra work from the kidneys, it will let some of the fat slip through and it will not get burned up. Also, a loss of hydration can prevent you from exercising with an effective amount of intensity because the body is not able to adapt to dehydration and your circulatory functions will be impaired.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.